Ask the Dietitian: "What are some healthy snack ideas?"
Healthy options you can indulge in.
Welcome to our series, Ask the Dietitian, where our in-house registered dietitian Kristin Neusel answers all of your burning nutrition and diet-related questions. Kristin is here to inform and empower you in all the food choices you make for yourself.
Interested in submitting a question to Kristin? Email it to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to answer it in an upcoming post!
We all like to snack (well, most of us anyways!). Snacking can be tricky, and can easily lead to some unhealthy decisions. If you’re a carbohydrate counter, a typical snack is around 15 grams of carbohydrates. Adding in fat and protein to help slow the absorption of sugar is a nice touch, and also will help you feel more full for a longer time period.
Tips for when you have a “snack attack” craving
1. Portion it out! Instead of bringing a whole bag of chips, crisps, or nuts with you to the television or computer, portion out a serving size into a bowl. This will prevent you from mindlessly eating and “overdoing it”.
2. Fill your pantry with healthy options. It starts at the grocery store, when you’re picking out the snacks to have on hand at home. It’s nice to have quick and easy items on hand for when you would like a snack. For example, purchasing pre-washed and cut carrots sticks are much easier to grab than carrots that require washing, peeling, and cutting.
3. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Typically, chips, candies, and other processed foods are on the inside of the grocery store. Filling up your cart with healthier items located along the store’s perimeter is a good start.
To help manage your blood glucose levels, you can try adding in a fat or protein to help slow the absorption of sugar. For example, if you have only an apple as a snack (a healthy food item, but it does increase your blood sugar), it will make your blood sugar rise faster and higher than if you added some peanut butter or cheese slices (fat/protein) to this snack. If you wear a continuous glucose monitor, give it a try and see the difference for yourself!
In addition, choosing foods that are higher in fiber will help prevent higher sugar spikes. Fiber is a carbohydrate that does not impact your blood glucose levels, so it’s best to look on the label for higher-fiber options. The key number to look for is at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
My favorite healthy snack ideas
- Apple with 1 T powdered peanut butter
- Pear with 1 slice reduced-fat cheese
- ¼ cup nut and dried fruit mix
- ½ toasted English muffin with 2 tablespoons smashed avocado (top with arugula if you’d like!)
- ⅓ cup hummus with 1 cup fresh, raw veggies
- 3 cups light popcorn
- 5 whole-wheat crackers with 1 low-fat mozzarella cheese stick
- ½ cup plain greek yogurt (nonfat), topped with ¼ cup fresh berries
Easy At-Home Movie Popcorn recipeIngredients:
⅓ cup popcorn kernels
1 brown paper lunch bag
- Measure out ⅓ cup popcorn kernels and pour into a brown paper bag.
- Fold down the brown paper bag a few times, leaving some air in the bottom of the bag.
- Microwave for 1:35. Enjoy!
Tip: If you do not have sodium restrictions, you can add some salt to the popcorn or other seasonings. Cinnamon is a fun twist!